Perspectives from ISB

This past weekend, we hosted our alumni at Equinox, the annual alumni learning and networking event at our Mohali campus. I thought this may be a good time to share some thoughts on what you can look forward to if you become part of our rapidly growing alumni network.

Long after our students graduate from ISB, the network that they became a part of continues to play an important role in their lives. Whether one is looking for valuable business leads or exclusive job opportunities, is settling into a new city and building a circle of friends, or for just about anything else, the alumni network is almost always the first port of call.

With over 5200 alumni spread across 32 countries, the ISB alumni network is vibrant, engaged and growing rapidly. They are an active lot and passionate about helping one another. Many of the alumni report that their career growth post graduation has come directly through alumni referrals and job postings on the network. If you thought job opportunities are available only during placement season, think again – the alumni email group sees high-level jobs and opportunities being posted almost on a daily basis! A lot of alumni also reach out to the network for information, guidance or ideas on solving challenges that they grapple with at work. The collective input from them leads to faster and more effective solutions – something that organisations have come to deeply appreciate in their employees. It is no surprise that many organisations encourage the ISB alumni in their employment to recruit more ISB graduates, from the alumni network as well as from the school directly through placements.

Apart from helping corporate careers, the alumni network is also proving to be a great resource for the growing pool of entrepreneurs in the ISB community. Whether they are trying to recruit good talent, looking for top professional services like designers, developers, subject matter experts, lawyers, etc, trying to get publicity for their ventures and build a client base, or even generating investor interest, the collective network often has great references and advice to share, based on personal experiences with these. An encouraging trend at ISB is the ever-increasing number of alumni coming together to co-found businesses.

Of course, the network is not only about work and business. The community is socially active and meet often, in small groups as well as large ones. Movies, get-togethers, and weekend getaways provide a welcome break from work and are especially enjoyable in the company of individuals one shares a pleasant history with. If an alumnus is visiting a city on work and finds that he/she has some free time at the end of the day, fellow alumni are a phone call away – definitely a better option than killing time in the airport lounge. Alumni relocating to a new city also find that the network is there for them – anything from finding a house and suggesting good schools for the children to showing them around town and helping them build a social circle. With such a support system in place, transitions become a lot more comfortable.

Apart from the informal interactions and events, the school and the various chapters of the ISB Alumni Association (ISBAA) also organise official alumni events in different cities. Every year, we celebrate our two alumni reunions, Solstice and Equinox, at our two campuses. These help alumni reconnect with the school, meet old friends and make new ones. They also get to relive their student days by returning to the classroom for learning sessions at these events. In fact, such “Lifelong Learning” sessions are conducted throughout the year at different cities, organised by the elected ISBAA representatives of the different chapters.

All this sharing of resources and opportunities, social interactions and a strong support system are not only rewards in themselves, but also serve a higher purpose. They build a strong sense of belonging and promote a mindset of helping the fraternity. Today, this habit helps make life a little more comfortable. Tomorrow, with a critical mass of alumni in leadership and decision-making positions, this translates to opening up of exclusive opportunities and social circles comprising of CXOs and influential individuals. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the immense value that such a network has to offer.

However, to reach that critical mass of ISB alumni in key positions is not easy. We do have an advantage because our graduates start higher up on the corporate ladder, as indicated in my earlier blog post on Career Advancement Services at ISB. And as they have shown, they will scale heights quickly from there. We are a young school, but while most other schools with several years of heritage are adding between 200-400 alumni to their fold every year, we are adding about 800, while maintaining the most stringent admission criteria. At this rate, the day is not far when a critical mass of our alumni will be leading global companies and be the foremost decision makers influencing business, economy and society. Consequently, the reach and influence of each alumnus in the network will also increase manifold.

I will point out a simple, present-day indicator of how the ISB alumni network increases reach. In fact, some of you may already have noticed this: An ISB alumnus’ Facebook or LinkedIn account generally has a significantly higher number of connections/followers than those of the average social media user. They also happen to be connected with fairly influential individuals in their areas of interest. Safe to say this effect is going to grow faster and faster from here on.

Let me leave you with a little anecdote about how the alumni network tends to go above and beyond when help is needed, even in the simplest of things. This is from the personal experience of our alumnus Subramani Ramachandrappa (PGP ’04), CMD of Richcore Lifesciences:

We were putting up a manufacturing plant and my engineering consultant said we needed X units of steam and therefore needed Y kilowatts of backup power, etc. On the look of it, I felt it was too much, but I was not the expert here. So I sent a mail to the alumni network with my concerns and I got six replies almost immediately from alumni who were experts in the energy space, having spent years in the best consulting firms and industry. They each offered to take look at this, and I did not even know any of them! It was just because of the email id that we all had in common. In two days, somebody actually flew down pro bono, sat with me and ran through the program, suggesting changes and helping me understand the system. I could trust him because he was an expert, a fellow alumnus and was not going to steer me wrong. We went with the new recommendations, and even today, my plant has been running great with what we implemented. In fact, the engineer who suggested the original specifications to me also wanted to collaborate with my friend on future projects!

That is the kind of support you can get from the alumni network. Any request for help never goes unanswered, anything from a simple request for information all the way up to support during medical emergencies. We are not looking at it as a transaction, but saying that we all belong to the same family.

All the best!